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So blest a life these thoughtless realms display,
But while this softer art their bliss supplies,
FROM "THE DESERTED VILLAGE.”
200. THE VILLAGE INN. Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high, Where once the sign-post caught the passing eye, Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts inspired, Where gray-beard mirth and smiling toil retired, Where village statesmen talked with looks profound, And news much older than their ale went round; Imagination fondly stoops to trace The parlor splendors of that festive place; The white-washed wall, the nicely sanded floor, The varnished clock that clicked behind the door; The chest contrived a double debt to pay, A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day; The pictures placed for ornament and use, The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose; The hearth, except when winter chilled the day, With aspen boughs, and flowers, and fennel, gay;
While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show, Ranged o'er the chimney, glistened in a row.
Vain transitory splendors! could not all Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall? Obscure its sinks, nor shall it more impart An hour's importance to the poor man's heart; Thither no more the peasant shall repair To sweet oblivion of his daily care; No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale, No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail; No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear, Relax his pond'rous strength, and lean to hear; The host himself no longer shall be found, Careful to see the mantling bliss go round; Nor the coy maid, half willing to be prest, Shall kiss the cup to pass it to the rest.
HISTORICAL, MORAL, POLITICAL, AND THEOLOGICAL WRITERS
OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
Isaac Watts. 1674-1728. (Manual, p. 288.)
FROM HIS LYRICS. Book I.
201. The Earnest STUDENT.
Come from the sky, and join thyself to me:
But never tired of telling thee,
Shall mark my path out with delusive art:
Creatures, be dumb at his command,
“Retire, my soul, within thyself retire,
Away from sense and every outward show:
My knowledge now on wheels of fire,
The Lord grows lavish of His heavenly light,
And pours whole floods on such a mind as this:
She dives into the infinite,
Philip DODDRIDGE. 1702-1751. (Manual, p. 345.)
202. OBLIGATION OF HARMONY AMONG CHRISTIANS.
Among many other good affections which the perusal of this history may naturally inspire, and which I have endeavored often to suggest in the improvements which conclude each section, I cannot forbear
mentioning one more; I mean a generous and cordial love to our fellow-Christians of every rank and denomination. I never reflect upon the New Testament in this view, but I find it difficult to conceive how so much of a contrary temper should ever have prevailed amongst such multitudes who have professed religiously to receive it, yea, whose office hath been to interpret and enforce it. To have enlisted under the banner of Jesus, to have felt his love, to have espoused his interest, to labor to serve him, to aspire after the enjoyment of him, should, methinks, appear to every one, even on the slightest reflection, a bond of union too strong to be broken by the different apprehensions that one or another of us may entertain (perhaps, too, after diligent inquiry) concerning the exact sense of some of the doctrines he taught, or the circumstantial forms of some of his institutions. A humble sense of our own weakness, and of the many imperfections of our character, which will never be more deeply felt than when we consider ourselves as standing before our Divine Master, will dispose us to mutual candor, will guard us against the indecency of contending in his presence, and will, as St. Paul, with admirable spirit, expresses it, dispose us to receive one another, as Christ hath received us. Yea, our hearts will be so eagerly desirous of employing our life in serving him to the best purpose we can, that we shall dread the thought of misspending, in our mutual animosities, accusations, and complaints, the time that was given us for ends so much nobler, and which is capable of being employed to the honor of our common Lord, and for the benefit of the church and the world.
EPIGRAM ON HIS FAMILY MOTTO, -"Dum vivimus vivamus."
Live while you live, the epicure would say,
David HUME. 1711-1776. (Manual, p. 326.)
203. CHARACTER OF QUEEN ELIZABETH.
There are few great personages in history who have been more exposed to the calumny of enemies, and the adulation of friends, than Queen Elizabeth, and yet there is scarce any whose reputation has been more certainly determined by the unanimous consent of posterity. The unusual length of her administration, and the strong features of her character, were able to overcome all prejudices; and obliging her detractors to abate much of their invectives, and her admirers somewhat of their panegyrics, have, at last, in spite of political factions, and, what is more, of religious animosițies, produced a uniform judgment with regard to her conduct. Her vigor, her constancy, her magnanimity, her penetration, vigilance, address, are allowed to merit the highest praises, and appear not to have been surpassed by any person who ever filled a throne: a conduct less rigorous, less imperious, more sincere, more indulgent to her people, would have been requisite to form a perfect character. By the force of her mind, she controlled all her more active and stronger qualities, and prevented them from running into excess. Her heroism was exempt from all temerity, her frugality from avarice, her friendship from partiality, her active temper from turbulency and a vain ambition. She guarded not herself with equal care or equal success from lesser infirmities the rivalship of beauty, the desire of admiration, the jealousy of love, and the sallies of anger.
Her singular talents for government were founded equally on her temper and on her capacity. Endowed with a great command over herself, she soon obtained an uncontrolled ascendant over her people; and while she merited all their esteem by her real virtụes, she also enjoyed their affection by her pretended ones. Few sovereigns of England succeeded to the throne in more difficult circumstances; and none ever conducted the government with such uniform success and felicity. Though unacquainted with the practice of toleration, the true secret for managing religious factions, she preserved her people, by her superior prudence, from those confusions in which theological controversies had involved all the neighboring nations; and though her enemies were the most powerful princes of Europe, the most active, the most enterprising, the least scrupulous, she was able by her vigor to make deep impressions on their state; her own greatness meanwhile remained untouched and unimpaired.
The wise ministers and brave warriors who flourished during her reign share the praise of her success; but instead of lessening the applause due to her, they make great addition to it. They owed, all of them, their advancement to her choice; they were supported by her constancy; and with all their ability they were never able to acquire any undue ascendant over her. In her family, in her court, in her kingdom, she remained equally mistress: the force of the tender passions was great over her, but the force of her mind was still superior; and the combat which her victory visibly cost her, serves only to display the firmness of her resolution, and the loftiness of her ambitious sentiments.
The fame of this princess, though it has surmounted the prejudices both of faction and bigotry, yet lies still exposed to another prejudice, which is more durable because more natural, and which, according to the different views in which we survey her, is capable either of exalting beyond measure, or diminishing the lustre of her character. This prejudice is founded on the consideration of her sex. When we contemplate her as a woman, we are apt to be struck with the